Dear Anonymous Tree Trimmers...

I know that you were sent by the cable company to trim the pecan tree in the backyard, but I really don' think they intended for you to mutilate the ancient thing so that it is unrecognizable as a living entity and instead now resembles something like a tree (kind of like when you unbend a paperclip and then try to end it back but can never quite get the paperclip shape just right again). So, can you blame my 89-year-old granddad for asking you to stop?

O.k., so maybe he didn't actually ask as much as he demanded you get down out of the tree, but you still had no right to tell your supervisor (who then told the local police) that he threatened you with a shotgun. He didn't have the shotgun in his hands, did he? No. He merely mentioned the fact that there was one in the house and that he was not opposed to using it to get you out of the tree himself if you refused to remove yourself by your own devices.

I really think the whole thing was really just one big misunderstanding, don't you?

Posted at 9:44 PM

Dear John (annotated and unabridged)

*This post contains the translation of the Dear John letter crafted in conjunction with the Diva in an effort to rid her of an unwanted amorous suitor. While we believe the original letter was most appropriate for dispelling her irritating beau of his relationship delusions, we also felt it necessary to supply the world at large with the translated text, in an effort to improve the dating lives of many a single gal.*

Dear Dane: (If he sounds like someone you may be interested in dating, please contact the Diva, as she would be more than happy to share his real name and contact information, as she is hoping he finds a suitable match quickly, so as to distract him from texting/calling her.)

I know it's chickenshit to do this via email, but sobeit. (I think it is important to start these kinds of things gently, but I really just want to find a way to get you to stop calling me every 5 minutes.) While I really enjoyed meeting you on the train that afternoon, and the romance of it all is rather appealing, I'm afraid that I don't think that in the end, there is enough substance between us to forge a true connection. (Loosely put, you are boring as Hell, when you aren't making shit up about what you have done in the past. I mean come on, was it not enough that you were walking into the World Trade Building elevator as the plane hit? Did you also have to save your dad from falling off of a capsizing boat by grabbing his ankle before he was swept into the Mediterranean? By the way, was that before or after you contracted malaria in Nigeria? Oh and was it $10,000 that you paid the border guard to enter Iran when your family was fleeing from the Russians?)

I know that you will disagree with this, but I tell you with great clarity that a relationship between us is not possible. (For the love of God, please do not text or call me again. 5 texts in an hour is not o.k., especially when they come after the 3 calls and 2 voicemails you have already left me, even though I told you I was busy at work and would call you later. And telling me that "I don't mean to annoy you" but then calling me anyway, does not make it any less annoying, and it does not make it o.k.)

Besides the obvious issue of distance, (not just Connecticut to Dallas, but also Copenhagen to Dallas, Paris to Dallas, London to Dallas) there are also a number of personality differences that I really feel make us incompatible. (I'm so sorry your only trip in a helicopter was while you were unconscious after crashing your Indie Race Car in Brazil, but hey, at least you were awake for the Air Force 1 ride. You were awake weren't you? I was sorry to hear that you lost your job on Thursday, but good work getting the President of the American Division job for whatever the hell Danish company it was you said you got today.)

While I am flattered by the fact that you have such an intense desire to make me happy, (as you so ardently expressed to me on one of the multiple phone calls I could not find a way to dodge this week. I realize not everyone immediately buys into the creed "This is The Diva, and the world circles around her." Your early and rather enthusiastic adoption of said mantra did manage to buy you at least 6 extra days.) I think that in this amount of time, (the longest 16 days of my life, possibly due to lack of sleep, as you texted continuously from several time zones, one of which is now home to my diamond necklace you purchased for my birthday while in Paris, but unfortunately lost with your luggage because it made so much sense to check a diamond necklace instead of carrying it on the plane back from Denmark. Too bad it didn't turn up like your cell phone, which you so inconveniently misplaced during your visit to town. Good thing for you your ex tracked you down at your hotel so I could hear your 20 minute argument IN DANISH before we went out for my birthday dinner.) for the majority of our conversations to have centered on the state of our relationship, (Seriously, we are not a country, and it is not a relationship after 16 days. Could we not have had even one conversation about American Idol like every other freaking couple in America, or perhaps we could lament the current state of the economy? Of course this was impossible, given your recent decision to give up watching or reading the news. How many times can a girl ask you how your kids are and what you were doing for dinner? Too many, but that's the best I could come up with since I apparently lack the imagination that you were able to develop while driving the 8000 miles home to Denmark after having torched the World Bank hut to keep any sensitive documents out of the hands of those pesky Russians trying to hold your family hostage in Afghanistan when you were merely a boy of 14.) which barely exists to begin with, is indicative of the very real lack of commonality between us. (I just want you to leave me alone, please, and I am hoping that this part will confuse you enough that you won't be able to text me for at least a couple of hours so I can have just a sliver of peace.)

I am so sorry; (I pray to God you do not turn out to be the stalker I think you could be, what with all your White House intelligence connections.) I really wish there were a way to not cause you pain, (Seriously, if you could just man up and stop talking about your emotions, I would really appreciate it.) but like a band-aid, (Cause I roll like that, don't you know.) I'm just ripping it off in an attempt to avoid dragging out an end that I see as inevitable. (Have I mentioned, God, that I would really appreciate it if he turned out not to be a stalker? Have I not been tortured enough this week?)

I know the right person for you is out there somewhere. (Perhaps that charming mother of those adorable octuplets born right around the time we met. She seems every bit as committed to bending the fabric of reality as you are. You would probably make a wonderful couple, and certainly with the salary you will be making in your new job, keeping all 18 of you in cowboy boots should be no problem.)

The Diva

*While we are saddened that Date #6 was not in fact the Diva's Prince Charming, we find hope in the knowledge that Date #7 should be coming along soon, and perhaps that one will not be another toad.*

Posted at 9:40 PM
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The two sisters were arguing...

I have absolutely no idea what the title of this post means, but I've had that line in my head since I typed it last night...when I fell asleep while trying to write my daily post. Lol.

There I was, typing about poor Flathead's (aka Landry) unfortunate trip to the pediatrician, and the next thing I know I flinch awake to find that sentence typed at the bottom of the post. It kind of makes me wonder what exactly I had been dreaming about during my brief narcoleptic episode, especially since I had just seen my sister for dinner, and there had been absolutely no hostility of any kind. Strange.

These are the kinds of things that happen when you feel obligated to write every day for something like NaBloPoMo(o.k., all but one day, but that one is being blamed on the Diva since she turned what was supposed to be a Saturday afternoon lunch at the pub into a bold attempt at matchmaking that ended up taking over for the day), and while the experience has been interesting, I feel some of the posts have not. What do you write on days when you really don't have much to say, or when you are so tired you literally find yourself typing in your sleep?

Apparently, you type about two sisters arguing...and then you get to go just a little nuts trying to figure out what exactly it was these two unknown sisters were so upset about. Makes me wonder if this is how Patricia Arquette's character feels on Medium. Maybe I'm psychic. Maybe I'll run into two sisters arguing today and the rest of the story will come to me in a flash and I will be able to save one of them from being the next victim of a local serial killer. (Do we even have any serial killers running around town right now?) Of course, I will have to do this in secret, as the rest of the world will not understand my abilities and will ostracize me or try to exploit me or force me to host my own talk show in the vein of Crossing Over.

It could happen.

Posted at 6:37 AM
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Growing Pains

It's not easy being an infant. You have absolutely no control over your life: you get dragged around town on someone else's errands all day; you have very little input as to what you are fed; and, occasionally, you end up having to sit for a while in your own poop. Then, when you try to voice your concern, or even outrage at your treatment, they shove a pacifier in your mouth to shut you up.

This is not a life I, for one, would label worthy of envy.

My niece Landry is in the infant stage. Four months old, she has to face the daily humiliation of wearing giant satin bows my sister clips to a variety of coordinating elastic headbands. Tonight's was hot pink, an accent to the hot pink and black, couch-like print pant suit Landry had no input in selecting. This child cannot be happy about that.

To add insult to injury, Landry received a round of vaccination shots today. Both legs were jabbed with needles, and during the preceding physical exam, the doctor informed my sister of two facts: 1) Your child's tear duct is clogged and if it doesn't clear up after another month, we will have to hold her down while we thread a wire though her tear duct to clean it out. This will, of course, obviously be excruciatingly painful. 2) The back of your child's head is flat; perhaps you should consider having her wear an orthopedic helmet to round out her skull.

Yikes! Is this a pediatrician or a communist interrogator? The kid is only 4 months old. I'm pretty sure she can't possibly know any state secrets you can pry out of her by sticking a wire in her eye!

Posted at 8:41 PM

The Chieftains

Went to see The Chieftains last night, which is always fun. They put on a show where you honestly can't help but clap along to the music, and at the end they dance through the audience looking grabbing people to dance around the auditorium in what can only be described as an Irish conga line.

The Pilatzke Brothers were with them last night, along with Cara Butler. Apparently they travel around quite a bit together because I managed to find this video of them at another festival. They did this dance last night, except that there were three of them, and the last 30-45 seconds had John playing the fiddle while doing the dance.

The extremely uncoordinated side of me was completely impressed.

Posted at 6:40 AM


Can't believe I made it 21 days before I missed one! But it was for a good reason: In the midst of a pre-birthday celebration for the Diva, my world shifted just a little bit.

Funny how when you are waiting for something and then it actually happens, you have to convince yourself that you are, in fact, awake. So now I'm waiting again, but this time it's in a dream and not a nightmare, and I'm hoping the wake up call never comes.

Will the having equal the wanting? Or could the having, perhaps,be better than the wanting ever was?

Posted at 7:55 PM

She snorted heroin out of his body cavity!

I'm not a fan of NCIS. I'm part of the school of thought that CSI was a great show...the first 4 or 5 seasons, but all of the spinoffs and even the current episodes of CSI just don't really interest me. While I know that NCIS isn't really a spinoff, it's so close to CSI, in both content and acronym, it's aways kind of turned me off.

But tonight, I have workmen in my building, so I am on call if they run into any issues with their installations, and I currently find myself eating pizza out of the box while I'm waiting for House to start on USA. Apparently the network has decided that 4 episodes of NCIS back-to-back are the perfect lead in for House, so I've just watched two episodes. Nothing really all that surprising...until the last 5 minutes of the last episode.

The plot involved three drug addicts, at least one of which was acting as a mule. That one had some accident (I was on the phone at that point, so I didn't catch exactly what happened), and he broke his leg and ended up in the hospital where he was going to have surgery. Before they could operate, the drugs leaked into his system and he overdosed.

So, his handler decides to sneak into the morgue with the guy's sister (also an addict) and is planning on cutting the guy open (in front of his sister who is, of course, in desparate need of a hit) and retrieving his investment.

The title of this post already gave away the shocking ending, but you really have to watch the episode to get the full effet. The girl snorted heroin out of her dead brother's gaping abdominal cavity!

I kid you not.

And when she stands up straight again, she has a heroin/blood concoction all over the bottom half of her face.

Who writes this stuff?

Cheesy and disturbing and just...gross.

Dear God, please do not let me replay that scene in my head while I am asleep tonight. It seriously gave me the willies.

Posted at 7:02 PM

Dear Shiny Red iPod,

You know that I loved you the moment I saw your monochromatic debut on the web. I sacrificed much to bring you home (o.k., fine, I asked everyone in my family for cash for my birthday, but I gave up the usual Half Price Books/Barnes & Noble gift cards, and that is saying a lot).

Many scoffed at my "downgrade", as they called it, from a classic to a nano: your hard drive wasn't as large, and your screen was no comparison, they said. But I knew that size was trivial next to true performance, and this morning you have proven yourself beyond my wildest expectations. In the cold dark of our early morning run, strapped steadfastly on my arm, you encouraged my weary body and soothed my troubled psyche. And then, when your batteries were at their lowest... still managed to save the data for one of my best runs before you succumbed to my thoughtless neglect of your charging needs.

This morning, you have shown me what true devotion looks like, Nano Nanu, and it will not soon be forgotten. Here is to another 80+ miles together, and fully charged batteries to boot.

Your faithful companion,

Posted at 6:40 AM
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4:00 a.m. Ramblings

There comes a point in the middle of the night when you have looked at the clock so many times that you finally just give up and turn the damn light on. One of the perks of being single is the fact that sleepless nights rarely keep anyone else awake; at least I don't have to skulk around trying to be quiet about my insomnia.

I come by the whole sleepless thing honestly. Genetics. I remember my grandmother being awake at all kinds of crazy hours, and I don't think my dad has slept through the night in a good 5 or 6 years. You can usually find him snoozing on the couch in the mornings, having moved there to watch late night TV when he couldn't sleep at 2:00am. Of course, my dad now has a tendency to fall asleep in the middle of a conversation, but I'm hoping I'm not that far gone yet.

One of the benefits to a crazy internal clock is that you get to see the world at a time when most folks are oblivious. Everything is in hushed tones, like those of us awake are all in on a big secret. Sometimes it can actually be exhilarating, but not tonight. Tonight I really just want another hour's rest before I have to head to work for what I anticipate will be a bit of a long day.

Posted at 4:19 AM
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Her Own Worst Enemy

Last night I was talking to the Diva about her new potential beau. True to form, she was already beginning to look for reasons why this one shouldn't work out (she has a tendency to try to jinx herself, which I have pointed out to her numerous times, so she can't be mad that I said it here).

This time, though, her reasoning took a turn: whereas usually she is busy finding flaws in her prospective suitors, this time her loudest protest was about herself. More specifically, I believe she pretty much yelled in the phone "I am [insert Diva's age here]!"

I couldn't help myself, I laughed out loud. Seriously? That's the best reason you have not to be hopeful, not to give this guy a chance to turn out to be as nice and thoughtful as he seems to be? Please, someone get the Diva a sedative...preferably something with vodka.

Better? Good.

Because I know she likes him. And I know she knows she likes him. And, even better, I think he likes her, too. And that's...well...really rare.

So, my advice to the Diva: Shut up and go with it. Take it from a daisy with a few regrets in the love department, none of which have anything to do with the times she threw the rule book out the window.

Because, honestly, isn't it usually the things we wish we'd said or the chances we wish we'd taken that follow us around the longest, find us in our sleep, and wake us up to disappointment?

Posted at 6:26 AM

Just Another Manic Monday

I should never drink vodka on a Sunday night. Not that I had much, but one drink tends to make me sleepy...for about 2 hours. Then I'm awake again, and last night that meant I woke up around 11, and couldn't go back to sleep until around 4 am. And all night I had a Josh Radin's "Winter" going through my head. Needless to say, I was a little tired today.

I also had equipment being installed on my campus today, while I was supposed to be teaching a class to a bunch of teachers. The class went well, but by the time it let out, I was a little more than perturbed to discover that my installers had only finished 2 of the 13 rooms they were supposed to be working on today.

It is going to be a long week.

This month's NaBloPoMo theme is supposed to be "want". There are a lot of things I want right now, but tonight I would settle for a good night's sleep, and maybe a smooth Tuesday. More on that tomorrow...

Posted at 7:38 PM

Climb On

This evening was the first night I've climbed in about 3 months. I managed to make it up 6 routes before my hand gave out. Not bad for someone who's been fighting tendinitis since July, but not quite where I was this past summer and fall. Of course, it's only been a couple of hours; the real test will be tomorrow morning. It'll be interesting to see just how stiff my hand is after its first workout in so long.

My technique is completely shot at this point. So much of the experience is building up muscle memory, making moves second nature. But like every other skill, without use, you get rusty. You may never forget how to ride a bicycle, but if you stay off of one long enough, the first few rides back are a bit wobbly. Everything felt backward tonight, like I had two left feet and my hands were crossed the whole time. Still, I managed.

There's something about climbing: the sense of accomplishment when you reach the top of the wall or when you complete a route that's ranked higher than any you've done before. It's a sport where progress is easy to measure and the credit is all yours. I'm still very much an amateur, but I totally understand why people who climb tend to do so for 30 years: there's always room for growth, always a new skill to work on, always a higher peak to reach.

There's also a great sense of camaraderie among people at a climbing gym. Everyone wants everyone else to succeed, and everyone pauses to watch a really good climber work out a new problem. Climbers remind me of surfers in that way. Each is out to have his best run, but all appreciate the beauty of a great climb.

And then, of course, there is the simplicity of the whole experience. It's just you hanging on to the wall. Sometimes, I even forget all about the rope and my partner at the other end of it. He is just a safety net, one that I have every intention of not needing. (Fitting since my partner is the ExBF with whom I am earnestly trying to be friends. lol.)

Up on the wall, there's not room in your mind to think about work, or money, or relationships, or the lack thereof because the dumbass you are interested in is dating someone else for reasons you will never fully understand, especially since he continues to wax endlessly about how wonderful you are and how you make him a better person, and he spends hours emailing back and forth with you about inside jokes, philosophy, and imaginary vacations together while his "girlfriend" is who knows where. On the wall, you don't have to be angry with yourself for letting someone use you like that, for letting yourself sit and hope and wait for someone who can't see what is right in front of his face. Up there you don't have to feel like an idiot for expecting more than he is apparently willing or capable of giving, for settling when you know that you deserve a hell of a lot more than what you are getting, for being afraid to walk away.

Up on the wall, there's no room to think about those kinds of things.

But eventually you have to come down from the wall, and there they are waiting for you, all of the thoughts you were trying to get away from. And compared to the wall, these obstacles seem nothing less than insurmountable.

Now playing: Joshua Radin - No Envy No Fear
via FoxyTunes

Posted at 8:54 PM
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When you care enough...

Ran into my friend LW the other night. The next day she sent me this in an email:

This is why I love LW; she can always read my mood and knows exactly how to make me laugh.

May all of you have smiled at least once on Valentine's Day. :)

Posted at 8:01 PM
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I *heart* Ivan!

So, earlier today I was walking down the hall at school and KS stops me to ask where my red shirt was.

"It's Valentine's!" she proclaimed.

"I'm boycotting this year," I replied.

And I was totally serious, too...until I talked to Ivan.

Ivan, my friends, was the knight in coaxial armor from my cable company who helped get me back online this afternoon after a harrowing 24 hours with no connection. It seems the cable outage on the property last night resulted in my cable modem being completely removed from the system. So, while I was pleasantly surprised when I got home today to find that Truman had once again found his much needed cable connection, I was completely frustrated when I tried to get online and was repeatedly greeted with the cable company's installation screen.

That's when Ivan swooped in and saved the day. At 5:00 on a Friday, when you know he'd rather be headed to happy hour, Ivan took the time to find Crazy Landlady's account, match the MAC address on my modem, and work his magic to get me back online. And believe me, this was a stubborn modem. There was power cycling, and reconfiguring, and ip addresses that did not want to be found.

And the whole time, Ivan just kept saying: "We're gonna get you back online." This dude was determined. I love that in a tech guy. :)

20 minutes later, I've got a connection and Ivan has earned his piece of cake (which, he said, is how he rewards himself for fixing a difficult case). If he weren't in another state, I would have taken him a slice myself. As it is, all I can offer is the virtual version:

Enjoy your treat, Ivan the Great. Consider it a Valentine gift from me, so it's not really breaking your diet! ;)

Posted at 5:02 PM


What does it say about me that in the past three months three of my closest friends have all called to tell me they thought of me when they saw this commercial:

They think I am a snuggie person! I am not a snuggie person!

Last night my oldest friend in the world, calls me close to 10:00 to tell me that she just saw this commercial and that every time she passes theses things at Walgreen's she thinks about buying one for me. A cheap fleece blanket with giant sleeves makes my best friend think of me. This cannot be a good thing.

I admit that I am extremely cold-natured. I can't help the fact that nature did not provide me with much in the way of insulation. This is one of the many reasons I live in Texas and not in Wisconsin. I know my thermal limitations, and I know I could not survive a northern winter. Colorado is as far north as I ever hope to live, and even that will require much in the way of long-johns and turtlenecks.

I'll admit, my wardrobe choices tend toward winter wear: I have an extensive collection of sweaters, and my coat closet isn't sitting empty, by any means. It might be also true that I own 6 or 7 pairs of flannel pajamas (all very stylish of course) that I may wear until well into April. I may own about 10 pairs of fuzzy socks (aka muppet feet) in a variety of patterns and colors, and one pair may even be microwaveable (gift from ExBF) for times when I can't seem to get my feet warm.

I sleep with a down blanket on the bed year-round, and in the colder months, there are flannel or fleece sheets under it and a heavy comforter on top. And yes, I do have a chenille throw ("woobie", in honor of my somewhat crazy mother) that I usually curl up under when I watch Truman, my Tivo. But it does not have sleeves!

I am not a snuggie kind of girl.

First of all, I don't knit. I've been trying to crochet the same damn scarf for the last three winters, and I just cannot make myself work on it for more than 10 minutes without my getting distracted. Yarn work is just not a priority in my life.

Secondly, I do not throw fits like a 4-year-old. Did you see the way the woman gets frustrated when she has to answer the phone and she has to get her hands out of the blanket? I would never do that. If I were that cold and that into my TV show and the phone rang, I would let it go to voicemail until such a time as I could comfortably call them back. I am not so emotionally needy that the ability to take every phone call must weigh in on my choice of couch accessories.

Third, I do not regularly attend football games, and on the rare occasions that I do, I have an adorable fleece football blanket (bought as a school fundraiser several years back, as a matter of fact) that will suit me just fine, as I am not really the type to jump up and throw everything off my lap to cheer my team to victory. The team for the school I currently work for wins 99.9% of their games anyway, so it's not all that unexpected when they score.

Finally, I am not old. Watching that commercial, I do not see any young, attractive, single-women-types wearing a snuggie. Let's face it, snuggies are not sexy. They are the epitome of homeliness, and, in my book, just one small step away from a dozen cats and a pink housecoat with matching slip-on houseshoes you buy at the grocery store. Snuggies do not project the appropriate image for someone dangling her toes back in the dating pool.

I appreciate the fact that you all seem so concerned with my physical comfort. Really I do. But I am thinking long-term here. I would much rather have someone's arms around me under the blanket than a monkish blanket with arms of its own.

Posted at 6:27 AM
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An early valentine

For those of you not fortunate enough to have seen Billy Collins in person today:

Posted at 9:18 PM
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Big storm came through last night. Tornado sirens freak me out to begin with, but my new neighborhood's are extra creepy: after the siren lets out this obnoxiously high pitched whine for about 5 minutes the thing actually starts talking. This disembodied voice tells you to take cover immediately. If I'd been asleep, I can imagine I would have thought it was God: "Daisy, this is our final warning. Either get your life together or take cover immediately." lol.

Everything had blown over by about midnight, the beauty of high winds. This morning, skies were clear, and the full moon was floating in the sky like a celestial floodlight when I went out for my early run. Made me wish someone would flick off the annoying streetlamps and just let mother nature do the job. Her lighting is always so much more elegant.

This was the fist run in about 2 weeks, since my recent bout with intestinal malaria. It amazes me how after 6 months of regular runs I can feel completely out of shape after two weeks off. Still, I made 1.92 of my usual 2.38 miles (thank you, Nike+) and it felt good to get my legs moving again. Helped my head too. After the gray day yesterday and my mourning my too brief visit to Austin, I needed a little endorphin pick-me-up. Like I've told my sister, it's really hard to run and cry at the same time.

Posted at 7:20 AM
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Techie Treats

Yesterday was only so so in the world of educational technology, until about 11:00 a.m. What, you ask, happened at this glorious hour? That, my reading friends, would be about the time I had a moment to sit down at my office computer and order my own personal Amazon Kindle 2!

Being a former English teacher and a self-confessed bookaholic, in addition to being a bit of a gadget girl, I have been anxiously awaiting the release of this little piece of literary miracle for several months now, ever since the rumors started about the upgraded version last summer.

Of course, there was that brief moment of panic as I was finalizing my order, since Boss Man doesn't currently have the budget to order them for his faithful servants as work-related gadgets (he did offer to buy them in the Fall, but there are some things I'm not capable of being patient about, and books happen to be one of those things). Then Boss Man, being his usual ray of sunshine, reminded me that I would have a tax return coming soon, and that sealed the deal. I am now the proud owner of a 2nd generation Kindle: smaller, faster, prettier than the 1st generation, and capable of holding 1500 books inside it's tiny 10.2 oz belly.

I told my dad that I'd be able to buy a house with three fewer rooms just because of the drastic reduction in the need for bookshelf space, to which he responded that maybe he should get one to put on one of the empty shelves in his new study:
I could put it on a tripod thingy, and no one would know if I owned 1500 books or just one!
Lol. That's my dad, for you. All about the gadgets, not so much about the books. Thank god for recessive genes.

To top off my Monday, while still in the Kindle-buying afterglow, my new Dell mini was delivered to my office door. This tiny treat was a free "seed unit" my Dell rep sent us to test out to see if it will fit the bill for my traveling teachers this summer. Needless to say I am quite charmed by it's small stature.

Yes, that is a DVD case! (P&P in honor of previous post about upcoming zombie version.)

I have named my newest li'l computer Tiny Tim.

The small keyboard is taking a little getting used to, but other than that, Tiny is perfect, straight out of the box.

And, yes, I realize my excitement is only further proof of my nerdiness...but I don't care!

Posted at 6:08 AM
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Wind and Waves

The house I rent is on a windy street. I'm not sure exactly why this is the case, whether it's the configuration of the houses, or the direction of the street, or the layout of the whole neighborhood that is responsible for funneling the slightest breeze down the lane with the force of a small gale, but that's exactly what seems to happen.

I notice it in the morning when I run. My street and the one perpendicular at the end of the block seem to have a lot more wind than the rest of my route. On cold mornings, I know if I can make it 2 blocks the air will still and I can make it the two miles until I get back to the windy streets. By that time, though, I'm hot from running and the breeze is a welcome relief.

In the evenings, the wind is different though. It winds down the driveway and turns at the back of the house, curling around the windows of my bedroom. It gathers up the fallen leaves, sending them skittering across the concrete to their inevitable collision with the garage or the fence out back, corralling them into the corner where the two structures meet.

Later, the now empty wind begins to echo like waves breaking on the beach, the rhythmic ebb and flow of each gust and its retreat. Listening from my bed, its easy to imagine that I am back on Kauai , or better yet in Mexico where I once fell asleep on the beach while watching a lightening storm drifting far out over the ocean.

When I think of that night, it's hard not to wonder what I'm doing spending so much of my life in the building down the street, reading emails, plugging in cables, showing people where to point and click. I cannot help but wonder if we all aren't missing the point: that there are more important matters to attend to in this world.

Like the wind, and the waves, and what we could learn from the unhurried persistence of each.

Posted at 7:14 PM
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Why is it the drive home from Austin always feels like it takes twice as long as the drive down? My own personal theory? Austin is a difficult city to leave. If it weren't for the fact the 90% of my family and friends are in the Dallas area, and the fact that I currently like my job and love my bosses, I'm pretty certain I wouldn't have come back at all. There is just something about that city-- its energy, its originality--that never fails to get under my skin.

Fortunately, I will have a good excuse to go back in the next 2 months, as my newest nephew is scheduled to make his world debut at the end of March. I wonder if the little guy has any idea how lucky he is to be born in such an amazing city.

Posted at 6:59 PM
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At dinner tonight my niece tells me about her report on China's move toward a free market economy. She is 12. Whatever happened to childhood?

Posted at 9:26 PM
I may joke a lot about my malarial sufferings, but the actual disease is not a laughing matter...unless you are locked in a room with Bill Gates when he releases a swarm of mosquitoes. (Thank you, Token Male for the heads up on this one.)

Gates was speaking at the 2009 Technology, Entertainment, and Design conference today, and his address dealt with two subjects near and dear to my heart: malaria and teachers. Say what you want about Windows Vista, you've got to respect the philanthropic work Gates has taken up in the last decade or so. And he makes a great point when he says:
The market does not drive scientists, thinkers, or governments to do the right things. Only by paying attention and making people care can we make as much progress as we need to.
This explains why, as Gates points out, more money has been channeled into finding a cure for baldness than has been spent trying to cure malaria. Talk about misplaced priorities.

As for the rest of TED, I've been a fan since the first time I saw a clip at another technology conference I was attending earlier this year. If your brain needs a pick-me-up, I highly recommend browsing through the Talks.

Always manages to renew my faith in man's intellectual future.

Posted at 10:24 PM

Back on Kerbey Lane

In today's Rachel Ray, food network, boutique supermarket world, a new subspecies has evolved, known affectionately (or not) as the Foodie. I, personally, bear no ill will towards these children of the mini-corns and arugala. In fact, more often than not, I find their devotion to their gourmet olive oils almost adorable, kind of like 5-year-olds and their obsessive attachments to the cartoon character of their choice. Barney or Elmo; extra virgin or extra, extra virgin. Same strange mental gymnastics, in my book.

I, on the other hand, am cut from a much simpler culinary cloth. Keep your croissants, I want a bicuit. Forego the omlette, my eggs can be scrambled. And crepes? Well, they've got nothing on pancakes.

You see, I don't particularly enjoy food intended to make me think; I want food destined to make me sleepy. Hot, steamy, fat-filled, and carb laden. That's a decent meal in my book.

So, you can imagine my euphoric state after having dined at one of my favorite Austin haunts: the original Kerbey Lane.

The old green house may have a new coat of paint inside, but one bite of the pancakes, and it's just like coming home. I think I may have gained back a least 1 of the pounds I lost last week, and the gingerbread I got wrapped up for breakfast tomorrow morning will probably put back another.

Until then, I'm struggling to keep my eyes open, fighting the impending carb-coma just long enough to get in my post for the day. More on the dinner later, I'm sure, but for now, I want nothing more than to doze off dreaming of real maple syrup and honest-to-god butter, dripping off buttermilk perfection.

Posted at 9:47 PM
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All Work and No Play...

For many years, my favorite movie was The Shining. Tonight, I think I checked into Austin's version of The Overlook. Granted, there isn't any snow, and there isn't any winding road up a mountain, and there isn't a hedge maze out the back door, but there also isn't anyone here.

I give you Exhibit A:

This is the view from our room door. You can see that the hall across the lobby is completely abandoned. There is not a single soul across the way, and this is only around 10:00 pm. We have not seen anyone on our side of the hall either, actually, though I did see one guy get off an elevator. I have decided he may have been a ghost.

Even more disturbing is Exhibit B:

This is the hotel bar. That's right, a hotel bar in Austin, Texas, during a convention week, and it is 100% empty. Seriously, 10:00pm: no guests, no bartender. Let me repeat: no bartender in the bar in Austin. That's like a sign of the apocalypse or something. No bar in Austin is ever empty at 10:00pm. None. Half the population of the town are bartender's for Pete's sake.

Even creepier is the fact that here I sit, at a keyboard, typing away. And after my weekend bout with the stomach flu, there are some unfortunate similarities between Jack Nicholson's face and my own.

Any minute I'm expecting little Danny to come scooting around the corner of the hall on his Big Wheel...

Posted at 10:37 PM
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Drugs Lead to Mr. Wrong

Gearing up to return to the world of the living tomorrow. Figure I'd just jump into the deep end of humanity, so I'm taking a road trip that will start just before rush hour. (Apparently my recent food deprivation killed half my brain.)

Can't be avoided, as the trip is for work. :(

Since I've been pretty much a hermit for the past four days, there's not much to entertain you with, so I thought I'd just pass on some dating advice I stumbled across. Apparently scientists have once again decided they know how love works. One of the more interesting bits:

If we're to some extent directed toward certain people by our neurochemicals, does that mean if we take Ritalin or Prozac or are on the Pill that we're likely to make bad dating decisions?
Yeah, that's a problem. You're going to marry a different kind of person. As long as you stay on the drugs, it might be O.K. What I'd do is get off drugs before you fall in love — and marry the person after that very early intense stage of love has worn off. I've always maintained that it's adaptive to marry after that stage. I think all over the world people are doing this, because they're living with their partners and even having children first.

Posted at 8:13 PM
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Post Malarial Rambings

Finally feel like I'm getting over a recent bout of intestinal malaria (aka stomach flu). I figure I can call this most recent annoying ailment whatever I want, since the popular name for it is a misnomer to begin with. According to WebMD, stomach flu isn't really flu at all, but rather the vernacular for an illness that can be caused by about 1/2 a dozen less glamorous viruses.

I would feel sorry for these poor second rate microorganisms and their life relegated to the shadows of the rock star viruses like influenza or rhinovirus that have dozens of medications designed specifically for them, but considering these second-stringers have rendered me completely pathetic for my entire weekend and cost me yet another sick day, I am really not in a generous mood. All sympathy for the little guys went out the window when I found myself falling asleep on my bathroom floor at 1 a.m. after hurling up imaginary contents of my empty and spastic stomach.

48 hours without solid food could make anyone cranky, but 60 hours kind of pushes you over the edge into this strange delusional state where you start seeing Burger Street chicken sandwiches in the patterns in your ceiling plaster and you dream of Original Pancake House's thick cut bacon during the 20 minutes naps you get between stomach spasms. Oh, and pizza. God, I would kill for a pizza right now, if I didn't think having one tonight would kill me first.

This is why I will never be anorexic: I do not function well when deprived of food, particularly food prepared by others and delivered to my door. I have a take out drawer rivaled only by the Gilmore girls. Seriously, the delivery guys in my neighborhood know me by name.

One guy from my old neighborhood, Guido (no joke, that was his name) worked for the pizza place and the Chinese place that were right next door to one another. He was at my door at least twice a week for 4 years. He once told me I was the nicest customer he had; I told him I figured I owed him a smile since he was feeding me all the time.

Another waiter, Michael, from the little Italian restaurant down the street knew what I liked, and never failed to know when the evening special would knock my socks off. He knew how I liked my salad, how I liked my drinks, and would frequently help me concoct stuff off the menu to fit my mood.

My favorite example, by far though, was the time I called Carmine's Pizza at 3:00 in the afternoon on a Wednesday when I was getting over a case of the flu (the real flu, not the impostor I've been hosting this weekend). I had felt completely horrible for 4 days, and had finally developed an appetite again, even though I still felt like a slug someone had run over with a Mac truck. I called to have my usual delivered, and the guy told me that their lunchtime delivery guy was gone and they couldn't deliver again until after 5. Completely deflated, I said I'd call back later. 2 minutes after hanging up the phone, Carmine himself called me back to say that he would be happy to walk the pizza the 5 blocks to my apartment and he would have it there in 15 minutes. Service like that earns my unwavering loyalty, that and the extra cheese and Italian sausage that has my mouth watering right now just thinking about it. I'm gonna have to take a field trip back to the old 'hood this week a pick up a pie from Carmine.

O.K., all this talk about food is making me more hungry. I think it's time to try something solid. Lord knows I can't feel much worse than I have already. We'll see...

Posted at 7:23 PM
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Daisy's Tweets

My Momma Taught Me To Share

Tag, you're it!